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SUMATRA

Friday 6th June - Monday 30th June 2014

Pete Morris

An amazing encounter with this Sumatran Tiger blew us away!! (Pete Morris)

An amazing encounter with this Sumatran Tiger blew us away!! (Pete Morris)

It’s not often that I begin a birding tour report with a mammal, but our incredible sighting of Sumatran Tiger I’m afraid stole the show from the birds this time around! It’s rarely seen let alone photographed at point blank range and watched for 20 minutes, so we can certainly class ourselves as part of a very select club! Fortunately the birds did us proud too! It had been a few years since I’d led this tour, and I’d almost forgotten how challenging the birding can be! Fortunately, I hadn’t forgotten that if you work hard and keep plugging away, success ultimately comes your way, and I was lucky to have a team of stalwarts that were prepared to, at times, put in the hard yards to gain the rewards! And in the end, we were extremely successful in tracking down nearly all of our hoped for targets. The main tour focused on three areas. At the imposing Gunung Kerinci we tracked down a great selection of specialities, including Red-billed Partridge, the rare Javan Woodcock (in daylight), Sumatran Trogon, a confiding Schneider’s Pitta, fabulous Sumatran and Rusty-breasted Wren-Babblers, Sunda Forktail (nearby), Brown-winged and Shiny Whistling Thrushes and even a brief Sumatran Cochoa. Nightbirding was rewarding too with Mountain Scops Owl, Rajah Scops Owl at a nest hole, Barred Eagle Owl and Sumatran Frogmouth. As well as the aforementioned Tiger, the Tapan Road treated us to more great birds which included some incredible Graceful Pittas and colourful Blue-masked and Sumatran Leafbirds. At Way Kambas we fixed the spotlight on a number of sought-after nightbirds including Reddish and Sunda Scops Owls, Large, Gould’s and Sunda Frogmouths and the rare Bonaparte’s Nightjar, whilst in daylight we found an excellent array of Sundaic species including numerous woodpeckers, a surprise Malaysian Honeyguide, stunning Rufous-collared Kingfishers, Red-naped, Diard’s and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, Green, Dusky, Banded, Black-and-red and Black-and-yellow Broadbills, Malayan Banded Pitta and a huge variety of bulbuls, babblers, sunbirds, spiderhunters and other goodies! Our first extension took us to Way Titias where we had to endure just two nights camping and a far easier walk than previous trips. In return, we were rewarded with fantastic views of Sumatran Ground Cuckoo as well as Ferruginous Partridge, Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasant and stunning Helmeted and Rhinoceros Hornbills – fair reward I’d say! The second extension to Enggano was straightforward, and all endemics showed superbly including the endearing Enggano Scops Owl and the wonderful Enggano Thrush. All in all, not a bad haul!

The wonderful Graceful Pitta (Pete Morris)

The wonderful Graceful Pitta (Pete Morris)